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Discussion Starter #1
I really want to show next season, just schooling. But all I have is a weanling and a mare who isnt show sound.

So I was thinking halter class for the little guy. He'll be a yearling in march. I was going to do english (thats what I ride) but I think you need to bridle your horse for english in hand classes. My friend suggested a western halter class. I really dont want to bit up my little guy just yet so halter is more appealing.

I've searched the threads, found some old stuff but nothing to indepth.
So what the heck do I need to do to get ready?
As far as training the horse?
Atire (Do I need to wear western clothes)?
I also know nothing about western show atire
Grooming?

I have like 5 months to get ready but since the little guy needs alot of halter training I want to start soon.
 

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He needs flawless ground manners.
He needs to be able to-
-turn on the forehand
-turn his rear
-square up without you having to physically touching him
-remain calm around other horses
-be used to a stranger walking all the way around him and possibly touching him
-be led at a calm pace, without lagging behind or charging ahead or leaning on you
-back without having to be tugged on or pushed
- maintain a proper headset while in the ring
-stand quietly and not fidget
- It wouldn't be a bad idea to teach him to ground tie either.
(In other words he should be the picture of calm, well trained, and respectful.)

He should also be groomed immaculately, clipped, trimmed, banded or pulled, and have well trimmed feet. If he has a thin or scraggly tail you will want to braid and band it, then trim off the split ends and possibly invest in a high quality fake tail extension if it is still puny. He needs to be well muscled and conditioned with lots of gymnastics and hill work.

There is tons more I am sure but that is what I can think of right now.
 

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Just to add on to HoneySuga, the judge may sometimes request to see your horse's teeth. Especially if you're in open halter or a class without a specific age designation. Make sure you can your weanling will let you open his lips. I perfected everything else but I got in the ring and totally forgot that the judge might want to see his teeth.
 

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Actually, I think honeysuga is thinking of Showmanship.


For halter all you need is a good looking horse. To show in halter (and until my guy was 3 years old that's what we did. He took grand champion AQHA, too.) you can wear jeans and a long sleeve button down as long as they look nice. You do not have to buy a showmanship-style outfit.

Your horse should have his ears clipped, no whiskers, nice feet. I'm not a fan of tail extensions in halter horses, but some do so.

The horse basically needs to be able to stand square. You can physically put him in that position. Then he just needs to stand there while the judge checks him out.

When you walk in, you will walk in a straight line and as you pass the judge he should go into a trot. Then you line up and square him up and just wait. In halter you can touch your horse. Of course, the minimal touching the better. But since he's young I wouldn't even worry about it.

DO NOT BRAID HIS TAIL. His tail should be natural.

You can polish his hooves with a clear polish and shine up around his eyes and mouth. I usually use Pepi spray for a nice shine on Java.

A leather halter should be used. It is up to you to get one with silver. MAKE SURE it fits very well.

It's really easy. Honestly though, in a halter class a horse could be a spazz and not that cleaned up. But if that horse has a great build then they're going to place first in the class anyways.

In halter you should try to make your horse look as close to perfect conformation for their breed as possible.
 

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Actually, I think honeysuga is thinking of Showmanship.

For halter all you need is a good looking horse.

Your horse should have his ears clipped, no whiskers, nice feet. I'm not a fan of tail extensions in halter horses, but some do so.

The horse basically needs to be able to stand square. You can physically put him in that position. Then he just needs to stand there while the judge checks him out.

When you walk in, you will walk in a straight line and as you pass the judge he should go into a trot. Then you line up and square him up and just wait. In halter you can touch your horse. Of course, the minimal touching the better. But since he's young I wouldn't even worry about it.

DO NOT BRAID HIS TAIL. His tail should be natural.

You can polish his hooves with a clear polish and shine up around his eyes and mouth. I usually use Pepi spray for a nice shine on Java.

A leather halter should be used. It is up to you to get one with silver. MAKE SURE it fits very well.

It's really easy. Honestly though, in a halter class a horse could be a spazz and not that cleaned up. But if that horse has a great build then they're going to place first in the class anyways.

In halter you should try to make your horse look as close to perfect conformation for their breed as possible.
No, I'm talking halter. Everything I posted helps with a halter horse. The being able to turn on the fore and hind helps you look smoother and more put together as you go about your class, also helps him develop his muscles.

Yes you CAN manually square him, but it looks nicer when he does it himself, looks more prepared.

I don't know if the caps about the tail was meant toward what I posted but I meant keep it braided between shows to prevent a mangled tail and to keep it clean and neat.

And any self respecting show participant does want a perfectly mannered, immaculate horse in the ring, not a spazz or a dirty horse. A well trained horse is quiet and allows the judge to focus on his job, not the ill trained gelding throwing a fit and calling to his buddy on the other end of the pen. The horse is meant to showcase the breeds best qualities, those qualities are best seen when not fuzzy and covered in dust.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I read an aqha Q/A. All the horse has to do is walk and trot (well jog as they call it). you can position the horse yourself. for my show its just schooling so a nice shirt and pants are fine. you dont need a suit. they dont like overly muscular horses, over overly thin either.

I found a friend of a friend who does it every year so shes going to come over and help me. Shes even gunna let me borrow a shirt so I dont have to buy one :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Any suggestions for haltes? I was thinking just leather. I dont wanna buy a fancy silver one just yet, hes still growing. He's a red chestnut (not a deep red, like a brown red) what color does everyone suggest.
 

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No, I'm talking halter. Everything I posted helps with a halter horse. The being able to turn on the fore and hind helps you look smoother and more put together as you go about your class, also helps him develop his muscles.
I agree that it helps, but since he's a weanling I don't expect her to master all of that before entering a halter class.

Yes you CAN manually square him, but it looks nicer when he does it himself, looks more prepared.
I think we're in agreement on this.

I don't know if the caps about the tail was meant toward what I posted but I meant keep it braided between shows to prevent a mangled tail and to keep it clean and neat.
Yes, it was meant towards what you posted. From the sounds of it I thought you meant she should braid the tail for the class, haha!

[/quote]
And any self respecting show participant does want a perfectly mannered, immaculate horse in the ring, not a spazz or a dirty horse. A well trained horse is quiet and allows the judge to focus on his job, not the ill trained gelding throwing a fit and calling to his buddy on the other end of the pen. The horse is meant to showcase the breeds best qualities, those qualities are best seen when not fuzzy and covered in dust.[/quote]

I agree. I'm just saying that you don't have to be dressed in a $1,000 showmanship outfit, have your horse body-clipped and in a silver and leather halter to win a halter class. As long as the OP presents her horse and herself to the best of their ability then that is fine.

I don't think it's necessary to learn to pivot on the haunches and forehand is necessary. I have never had to do so in any halter class. Occasionally I would back a horse up if the horse standing in front of us was spazzing out, but I never employed pivots unless it was in a showmanship pattern.

There are plenty of things a halter horse should be able to do when they are a true halter horse. However, since the OP was questioning how to begin in halter with a weanling in a schooling show, I explained what she needed to know only.

And yes, Sillybunny, for a weanling a plain leather halter is perfectly acceptable. No need for silver, but try to stay away from nylon. :)
 

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Gotcha, I see what you are saying about everything not being necessary. I just menat they are good excersizes for suppling and such that would be of benefit a halter hores in general, I tried to edit but it was too late...
 

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I think pivots and being able to turns on the haunches and forehand are great skills for a halter horse. If say your horse suddenly moved his butt out, your horse wouldn't be straight. If your horse knew how to move his butt back across without moving his shoulders it makes you look more professional and doesn't disrupt the line up that much.

And even if he's not a professional halter horse, he should know how to pivot. Its basic education and manners :)
 

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Thank you Gidji, that is what I was trying to say, you made it much more clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I havent met a horse who can't pivot lol. Its one of the first things I teach my horses. I mostly use it to keep the hind end out of my way, or to push a horse away if they try to kick out.
 

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It's really easy. Honestly though, in a halter class a horse could be a spazz and not that cleaned up. But if that horse has a great build then they're going to place first in the class anyways.
I just had to giggle. The first show that I took Rocket to we did english halter and he was a total spazz, wouldn't stand still for more than three seconds, i kept having to turn him and reposition him, it was really embarrassing next to all the nicely mannered showmanship horses. We ended up with a first anyway, and when I asked the judge why they said it was because my horse's trot was so impressive compared to all the WP trained horses. Oh well!


So not to jack the thread, but how do you square up a horse? The man that I bought Malibu from got her to square up really well, but I haven't been able to get the same out of her since!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So not to jack the thread, but how do you square up a horse? The man that I bought Malibu from got her to square up really well, but I haven't been able to get the same out of her since!
Sometimes its pretty hard. I usually just back them up and walk them forward trying to stop them when they are square or close to it. I know in 4h the kids poke the cattle and rub their legs with a pole to get them to stand square.
 

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So not to jack the thread, but how do you square up a horse? The man that I bought Malibu from got her to square up really well, but I haven't been able to get the same out of her since!

Honestly? I use treats to get Java to stand square. Well, I did when I taught him at least and still do occasionally.

I moved his feet in place and said "stand" then gave him a treat. After a while he figured it out and will ALWAYS square himself up now in hopes for another treat. ;)
 

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I havent met a horse who can't pivot lol. Its one of the first things I teach my horses. I mostly use it to keep the hind end out of my way, or to push a horse away if they try to kick out.
Haha, I've definitely met a few who didn't know how to pivot on request!

And I've seen a few "forget" in the middle of a showmanship pattern.

Every time I turn Java I make him pivot on his haunches as if we were showing. Not a lot of people do that to their horse, but it takes up a LOT less space than just walking a semi-circle and it keeps him on top of it.
 

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So not to jack the thread, but how do you square up a horse? The man that I bought Malibu from got her to square up really well, but I haven't been able to get the same out of her since!

I should also add - a LOT of horses are taught to square up when you point your toes toward their shoulder. That's what I transitioned to from the voice command of "stand". So if you stand at a showmanship/halter angle and point your toes towards her shoulder see what she does. Otherwise you can look at the foot you want to move, focus on it and pretend as if you're "asking" her to square up by slight direction on her lead/halter.
 

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(This is for training at home and warmup , you shouldn't take the stick into the ring mind you but to get the concept down it works very well and then you can wean the horse off to just slight verbal cues...)
You can use a crop or "carrot stick" as some people call it, basically anything that keeps you from touching the horse. Once the horse is stopped and standing lightly tap any foot that is out of place until it is in place then reward with a verbal "good" and a pat.

You can also teach a word for each foot, though it takes some time, an old friend of mine did this with her show horses and show dogs. Just used 1,2,3,4 (one number per foot, and a different tone for each number) and would tap the foot with the stick and say the number when the horse moved it.
When she would show she would just give a slight tug on the lead and say the number of the foot to move in a commanding tone and it would be moved... It was awesome, she was subtle enough that it looked like they were reading each others minds rather than her telling the horse what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
never thought of voice commands, great idea. I think the easiest thing would be to teach a horse to square everything they stop (if thats possible.)
 

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This is how I trained Ricky to square up.
Get your horse into and active walk and make him halt. Sometimes I find just an active walk and a good halt will get your horse square. Reward them if they stopped square.

If they didn't pick up a hoof and put it into position. Remember to keep saying "Woo" or "Stand" or whatever command you use. After he has stood still and kept that one hoof in position, move onto the next hoof. Keep saying your command. If he moves either hoof, pick it up and place it again. When he stands still reward him. Keep making him stand still for longer before you reward him.

After your horse has the whole keep your hoof where I place it downpat, you can start refining it. Ricky is trained to move his hoof when I point and click at it. That took a lot of patience to teach him, but it was worth it.
Some other halter horses I know are taught to stand square by the subtle movement of the handler's wrist on the lead rope. I have helped train horses to square up like this, and it isn't hard, but it just requires a whole lot of patience and repetition.
 
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